Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Today Is Jeremy Taylor Day

Normally, if anything is normal these days, this blog steers well clear of the rocks, squalls and tempests of religion and faiths and the rest.  With a clutch of mixed denomination marriages in the family and some relatives devout in their particular belief it is better to avoid trouble than to invite it.

Especially, if because of age one has forgotten most of that which was taught only to remember most of what was inconvenient when religious matters were encountered.  Nevertheless, as it is a large part of history, the degree to which is a debate to be avoided, it has to be taken into account.

This week sees the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the birth of Bishop Jeremy Taylor, a quote from whom appears at the top of this blog.  For a long time his works were a major part of the ideas of the Anglican Community and informed the teaching on faith, marriage, family, the exercise of authority and other matters.  Today, Tuesday 13 August is Bishop Jeremy Taylor Day in the Anglican Church.

How far this will have been marked is not known, it is likely that more attention will have been given in the American Episcopal Church and Church of Ireland than elsewhere.  He died too young, at 54, so what he might have achieved later can only be guessed. 

Had he been given another twenty five years, given that his son-in-law, Francis Marsh, who became Archbishop of Dublin and was close cousin to Queen Mary II and Queen Anne, the history of the Stuarts might have been different.

For those interested, here are some links, below.  The Wikipedia entry is a basic outline but necessarily limited in terms of his personal life and suffering and the scope of his interests.  The other two give firstly a personal modern reaction to his teaching and the second the order of service to commemorate his life on his name day this week in the Anglican Church.

Nowadays little notice is taken of the anniversary or the role he played at the centre of one of the most tempestuous parts of our history.  Like many other major figures of our own past we prefer to forget because what they had to say does not suit our present obsessions.

Long before he came over my radar Uppingham was a town I knew quite well, and played rugby there.  Also, I played against Gonville and Caius at Cambridge.  There might have been the odd hurly burly football in his time when he was a youngster, but it is unlikely that he joined in.

Ten and more generations on there will be many descendants. Those in the 18th Century were closely interwoven with the literary and political world of the time.  Goldsmith, Johnson, Sheridan and even Keats had connections to his later family.  Jane Austen would have been well aware of them.

In the present era, in the 1960's and later both the 1963 to 1964 Prime Minister the 14th Earl of Home and the photographer, Patrick, Earl of Lichfield were descendants, something of a contrast.  There are likely to be very many who are entirely unaware of this ancestry. 

You could be one of them.

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